Nels Abbey, a former banker who subsequently became a writer, joined host Fiona Bruce, Conservative Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey, Labour Shadow Secretary for Education Kate Green, Nadra Ahmed from the National Care Association and British broadcaster Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Question Time programme in Croydon. But Mr Abbey, who authored ‘Think Like a White Man’, decided to goad the 72-year-old Scottish born journalist over his decision to resign from his post of chairman of GB News.
After Mr Neil told Ms Bruce why he departed from GB News, the former bank waved around two copies of The Sunday Express’ pre-launch exclusive on GB News, which was headlined: “Why Britain’s new TV news channel won’t be woke”.
While showing the audience the copies, Mr Abbey chuckled away and joked about GB News’ having “close to zero” viewers.
After highlighting how GB News proclaimed itself to fight against the culture wars, the author turned to Mr Neil and said: “I posit it to you, Andrew, that you actually knew exactly what you guys were setting up.
“When you used the word woke as a pejorative, I put it to you that… you exactly knew the dog you were blowing that whistle at.”
Mr Abbey then went on to argue GB News was a very “shoddy” channel.
“It came out, it was embarrassing to watch,” he said.
Abbey added that “it’s not going to be Fox News” and added GB News is “a very inferior product” to Rupert Murdoch’s US-based media outlet.
He also claimed Andrew Neil had been “broken down” and “traduced” through his own means.
During his appearance on Question Time, Neil explained some of the details of his departure.
He said he had “always made it clear it [GB News] wouldn’t be a British Fox News” and suggested the Murdoch-owned channel deals in “untruths”, “conspiracy theories” and “fake news”.
“That is not my kind of journalism and I would never have set out to do that,” he said.
Mr Neil continued: “I will let you draw your own conclusions as to why I am here tonight and not with GB News.”
He added: “In the run-up to the launch, through the launch and in the aftermath of the launch and I think most of you who know anything about it will know you couldn’t file the launch under startling success, more and more differences emerged between myself and the other senior managers and the board of GB News.”